One father's hilarious test of which virtues matter most in young men, and which parenting tricks are overrated.
The last time I'd paid attention to professional sports was around 1977 — the year my dad took me to Game Six of the World Series, then made us leave in the seventh inning to beat the traffic. "But what if Reggie Jackson hits a third home run, Dad?" "Don't worry. He won't."
On the upside, we did have the subway all to ourselves.
But this year, at the request of my eldest son, I watched the Jets in the playoffs. And when they scored, he laughed like Ray Liotta in GoodFellas, and I laughed with him, and we stomped triumphantly around the living room, doing coyote howls. So this is what all the fuss is about, I remember thinking. I'd forgotten the joys of tribalism. I'd forgotten the deep irrational pleasure of belonging to an arbitrary group.
The next week, the Jets lost, which sent my son into a funk for two days. He recovered in time to root for the Colts during the Super Bowl, because a horseshoe looks cooler than a fleur-de-lis. It was all "Go Colts!" — until the Saints started winning, at which point he switched his allegiance to New Orleans. Not very tribal at all. But there's also something manly about rooting for the winners.
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